Madeline is now peacefully sleeping. She has been wide awake since her surgery, just looking around with her big eyes. She had 4 episodes so far of SVT (Super Ventricular Tachycardia for you med students) where her heart rate jumps from its norm at around 140 and nearly doubles instantly. Each time our nurse quickly moves into the room and pops a syringe all ready to go into her IV and 4, 3, 2, 1, everything is back to normal. Until she does it again. It’s almost like Madeline is going for a personal best. Although I strongly discouraged her from doing it she did hit an all time high of 302. “Welcome to the 300 club Madeline, I’m proud of you – now don’t do it again.”
Today has been the most difficult day of our lives. We have been pushed beyond what we believed our own mortality could withstand. It has been full of the highest highs and lowest depths of emotion. We were fearful this morning as Madeline began her SVT and struggled to understand it. We struggled hard to understand the surgeon as he told us why this surgery needed to be done immediately. We cried as he told us how risky the surgery was going to be and that riskier still would be to do nothing. We prayed hard as we waited for that hour.
Then we rejoiced with the angels that the surgery had gone well. We praised God for saving Madeline and for the skilled surgeons. Cardiologists and other doctors came into our room and praised the bravery and heroics of our surgeon for taking on such a risky surgery. Madeline was on her road to recovery. As we walked down the hallway to deliver the news to those in waiting we passed a family, falling apart, crying out loud. They had a son, Austin, who had just gone through his second heart transplant during which blood flow was interrupted to his brain. The surgery was over, but Austin’s brain activity had not returned. I could hardly deliver the good news of Madeline while I could still hear the other family crying down the hall. I now felt the weight and burden of their pain as well.
And so we started praying again, first praising God for the success of Madeline’s surgery, then praying for this family down the hall that we didn’t even know. As we finished the prayer, we opened our eyes to a larger group. “Hi, our son’s name is Michael – he’s in surgery, can you pray for him too?”. And so we did. We found out later they had visited our church a month ago and we recognized each other. We shared the good news of Madeline. They rejoiced with us and included her on their prayer chain. Then their surgeon came out, Michael had been perfect in surgery and it had gone superbly. We rejoiced with them for Michael. We ate a meal.
We went over to visit Michael, then we met Dan and Danielle, an awesome young Christian couple. They brought us over to their room to meet Aaron Matthew. He, too, was recovering from a successful surgery. God is indeed good. As we watched he opened his eyes to see his mom and dad and then stretched. Dan and Danielle came over to see and pray for Madeline Grace. And as we talked, behind them every doctor and nurse in the area sprinted for their son Aaron’s room. He went into cardiac arrest.
This was the moment that Dhondi, my brother who had just flown in from Arizona decided to show up. In less than 5 minutes he was almost under more stress than us. I quickly informed him of the situation and then left to gather Michael’s family just leaving from the waiting room. Once again we fell to our knees in prayer (it gets easier – after several times in one day your knees just automatically know what to do). We held Dan and Danielle tight and we prayed over and over and over as we cried out to the Lord. “Please Lord Jesus, please just touch Aaron and bring his life back”. We watched helplessly as across the hall from us their room became a surgical suite and 20 people did all they could to save Aaron. And then he was gone. The air around the nurses and doctors here was defeat, and exhaustion. We cried and cried for Dan and Danielle, hoping somehow that if we could feel enough pain for them that it would take some of their pain away.
And now we’re back to prayer, praying for Dan and Danielle. Praying for the Great Comforter to meet them right now as they get to hold their now lifeless child. Praying for their hearts that Jesus would keep them safe from Satan. Praying for the power of His grace to heal them during this hour. Praying for answers that we may never get. And finally turning our attention back to our little Madeline, sleeping peacefully. Praying for her now. Pray that she recovers from her surgery. Pray that she can be moved back to the NICU soon. Continue to pray for Austin’s family. Continue to pray for Michael’s family. Continue to pray for Dan and Danielle. Exhausted new in every way, pray for us to sleep. Continue to pray. Amen.
“Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him” Job 13:15
Shanker & Lisa